Prêt-À-Poundo: Montreal Gets Its First Black Fashion Week

Montreal will host its first Black Fashion Week from May 15 to May 17 2013.

After Black Fashion Week Prague and Black Fashion Week Paris, Montreal is now getting its first Black Fashion Week, kicking off May 15 and lasting until May 17. The event is organized by Senegalese designer Adama Paris — who also organized the Dakar Fashion WeekAfrican Fashion Awards — with the aim to celebrate fashion while revealing the cultural wealth of the black diaspora.

The term "Black Fashion Week" recently garnered heated debate due to its racial implication. "Why not a White Fashion Week?” some have asked. “But Paris Fashion Week is already white!” N’diaye told Agence France-Presse. “We wanted to simply promote beyond African borders designers who are well-known in Africa or in their country but who don’t have access to the global market.” The event also aims to promote black models who are under-represented in fashion shows.

The catwalk of Black Fashion Week Montreal will be held in the unique setting that is Church of St. John Baptist in the heart of Montreal. The event will present the 2013 trends of the Black diaspora in 3 different worlds: JUST Fashion, ONLY Men & LIMITED Edition. JUST Fashion and ONLY Men will present the unavoidable ready-to-wear fashion brands & LIMITED Edition will present the luxury and high fashion of limited items. The evening of May 15, all fashion lovers are invited to the Black & Gold party, an dress code required evening to mark the start of the first Montreal Black Fashion Week. A fashion and networking rendez-vous in one of Montreal’s places to be : Hotel 10. The designers will present their collections on May 16 and 17 from 6.30PM, the fashion shows will be followed by a VIP cocktail combining press and designers and an afterparty.

WHEN: May 15 through May 17

WHERE: Church Saint Jean-Baptiste 309, rue Rachel Est Montréal, Québec, Canada H2W 2K7

Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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